Editorial: Best Modern Doctor Who Companions

Last editorial, I counted down the best Classic Who companions. Now it’s time for the current version.

Before I start, a small disclaimer: I will not be counting one-shot companions, as they did not stick around long enough for us to get to know them, compared to the longer-staying ones. Also, because this is actual friends, Adam wouldn’t make the cut even if he stuck around longer than the one-shots.

billpotts 10) Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie)–Of the companions on this list, Bill is the one with the briefest stint.  I liked her inquisitive nature and enthusiasm.  As a previous editorial stated, I don’t see her as “pushing an agenda”, I just see a fun-loving girl.

nardole 9) Nardole (Matt Lucas)–Often a companion’s job isn’t just to ask the questions the audience would ask, it’s also to play moral compass. Nardole was a good moral compass and his sardonic nature was good comedy relief.

clara 8) Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman)–Now here’s the real controversy-summoning companion! A lot of people seem to HATE Clara. But I never did. She proved herself in “Flatline” and “Face the Raven” as someone willing to sacrifice herself, even against the Doctor’s wishes. She even jumped into the Doctor’s timeline to save him from the Great Intelligence. Her one flaw was her impetuous side, which often caused her to make rash decisions.

amy pond 7) Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) What I liked about Amy was that she wasn’t afraid to put the Doctor or anyone else in his or her place. Her impulsive nature made her one of my favorites.

harkness 6) Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)–Even if you never watched Torchwood, you knew Jack had more going for him than the sparse appearances on the main show. What I liked about Captain Jack was he was a man of action, willing to cross lines the Doctor wouldn’t.

rose tyler5) Rose Tyler (Billie Piper)–Before Clara, Rose was the most-hated companion. I never really had a problem with her. She helped the Ninth Doctor heal his psychological wounds from the Time War. I never minded her falling in love with the Doctor. How could anyone not fall in love with him?

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Overview: The Peter Capaldi Era (2013-2016)

CapaldiSteven Moffatt’s first Doctor, Matt Smith, became a fan favorite, and in some cases eclipsed his predecessor, David Tennant. It seemed as though he mostly proved he was a worthy successor to Russell T. Davies. But could the trend continue with Peter Capaldi?

“I do what I do because it’s right! Because it’s decent! And above all, it’s kind!”

About Peter Capaldi

At 59 years old, Peter Capaldi is the oldest actor to play the Doctor.  He follows the tradition of Colin Baker in that he actually appeared in an episode of a previous Doctor’s run, “The Fires of Pompeii” as Lobus Caecillius (which became a plot point of the era). he’s also the second Doctor to have appeared in a spin-off prior to becoming the Doctor, playing Dr. Frobisher in the Torchwood mini-series “Children of Earth”. (David Tennant was the first, appearing in one of Big Finish’s UNIT audio dramas. He was a longtime fan of the show, much like Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and David Tennant before him. Prior to Doctor Who, his most famous role was Malcolm Tucker in the BBC TV sitcom The Thick of It. He played a “WHO Doctor” in World War Z and plays Mr. Curry in both Paddington movies.

In a Nutshell:

  • Catch Phrases: “Pudding brain” and “Shut up!”
  • Series 8’s premiere “Deep Breath” was an extended episode, which continued to be a fixture for all three series.
  •  The Master returned in “Deep Breath”, having changed genders and referring to herself as “Missy.” She was played by Michelle Gomez.
  • Series 9 consisted mostly of 2-part episodes, with “Sleep No More” being the only stand-alone episode.
  • Series 10 was postponed one year, making the third time Doctor Who was put on hiatus during its history.
  • A new spin-off, Class, aired both online and on TV, but wasn’t nearly as successful as Torchwood or The Sarah Jane Adventures, only lasting one series.

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Twelfth: Twice Upon a Time

twiceWriter: Steven Moffatt

Director: Rachel Talalay

Producer: Peter Bennett

Companions: First Doctor (David Bradley), Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie), Archibald Lethbridge-Stewart (Mark Gatiss)

Summary: Refusing to regenerate, the Doctor meets a soldier from the First World War and his original self. They meet a mysterious being made completely out of glass that calls itself Testimony, who wishes to exchange an old friend for the soldier–Bill Potts.

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Twelfth: The Doctor Falls (part 2)

doctor fallsWriter: Steven Moffatt

Director: Rachel Talalay

Producer: Peter Bennett

Companions: Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie), Nardole (Matt Lucas)

Series: 10, episode 12

Note: This episode ran for an hour and a half.

Summary: Bill has been converted into a Cyberman! Can the Doctor save her? Can Missy actually be trusted?

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Twelfth: Eaters of Light

eaters of lightWriter: Rona Munro

Director: Charles Palmer

Producer: Nikki Wilson

Companions: Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) and Nardole (Matt Lucas)

Series: 10, ep. 10

Summary: The Doctor, Bill, and Nardole are in the days of ancient Rome, when the Romans were invading Britain. They are in search of the Ninth Roman Legion. The Legion is battling beings known as the Eaters of Light.

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Twelfth: The Empress of Mars

empress of marsWriter: Mark Gatiss

Director: Wayne Yip

Producer: Nikki Wilson

Companions: Nardole (Matt Lucas), Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie)

Series: 10, ep. 9

Summary: The Doctor and friends arrive on Mars and discover that humans have invaded and are attempting to colonize and revitalize the planet. However, his old enemies, the Ice Warriors, see the humans as invaders and the Doctor is caught in the middle of their conflict, unsure if he should take a side, and if so, which side he should take.

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Twelfth: The Lie of the Land (Conclusion)

lieWriter: Toby Whithouse

Director: Wayne Yip

Companions: Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie), Nardole (Matt Lucas)

Series: 10, ep. 8

Summary: The monks have altered history because Bill asked them for help so that the Doctor would regain his sight. They have taken over the world. The Doctor realizes there is only one solution: he must open the vault and ask for Missy’s help.

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Twelfth: The Pyramid at the End of the World (Part II)

pyramidWriters: Peter Harness and Steven Moffatt

Director: Daniel Nettheim

Producer: Peter Bennett

Companions: Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie), Nardole (Matt Lucas)

Series: 10, ep. 7 (part 2 of 3)

Summary: A pyramid has suddenly appeared, causing all of the world’s clocks to count down. Bill learns the Doctor has been hiding his blindness from her.

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Twelfth Doctor: Extremis (Part 1 of 3)

extremisWriter: Steven Moffat

Director: Daniel Nettheim

Producer: Peter Bennett

Companions: Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie), Nardole (Matt Lucas)

Series: 10, episode 6

Summary: The Pope requests an audience with the Doctor because they wish to execute Missy. And what is the secret of “Veritas”?

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